Today, as I sit down to write something of my usual ramblings of pigs, dogs and sunrises, I have learned of the death of Anita Roddick. And I am truly overwhelmed.
I was fortunate enough to meet her a few years ago, a chance meeting through an odd circumstance that resulted in my having coffee with her in her kitchen. What a warm, unassuming, and truly inspirational woman she was. In the years since, I have often thought of writing to her, reminding her of that encounter and suggesting we might find a joint venture, a meeting of minds, some way of sharing a passion, a vision.
But of course, I never did. How would I have looked? A desperate wannabe, hoping that some of her talent, her style, her wisdom would rub off on me. Of course, that would be true. But there was something about her that made me feel valued. She engaged with you totally, she held your gaze and for a few moments, you were the centre of her attention.
I am certain it is these qualities, not academic qualifications or the 'right' accent, that gained her the global recognition she entirely deserved. How many other 'businesswomen' can you think of that have really broken the mold, who really shaped a whole new vision, a retailer that appealed equally to 12 year old girls with only £2 pocket money to spend, aswell as middle-aged men searching out a face-scrub for the very first time. And behind it all, a passion for fair trade that has only now become something the big marketers have latched onto; she was 30 years ahead of the game. As a stay-at-home mum in the 70's, looking for something to do while hubby was away, she created a global phenomenon. If her story doesn't inspire anyone who ever had an idea, it's hard to imagine what would.
She was truly an inspiration and 64 is no age. To her family I send my heartfelt prayers.